back to article No humans allowed: How would a machine-centric data centre look?

Even using the most conservative estimates, the number of connected devices has surpassed the number of humans. Machines are communicating more with other machines than they are with humans. It's therefore reasonable to assume that, eventually, data centres will exist specifically to cater to machine communication, and those …

  1. frank ly


    "... like scheduling the washing machine to run during a week day rather evening or a weekend."

    But who puts the clothes into the washing machine? Who needs a remote data centre or even a local controller to schedule their washing machine for them?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: But who puts the clothes into the washing machine?

      Your own personal household droid ?

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: But who puts the clothes into the washing machine?

        Ah, you mean the cleaner

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overthinking

      And more importantly who is paying for this remote data centre?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Overthinking

      More to the point, why do you need data centers with more bandwidth and less latency to schedule a damn washing machine? Talk about grasping for straws! If that's the best they can do for use cases, I say let's not worry about it until some real use cases are found.

      Even if you have machines serving other machines, ultimately it is humans being served by those machines being served by machines. If we're cut out of the loop entirely, it is only because some sort of Skynet type scenario has come to pass.

  2. schaafuit

    What's a device?

    What's a 'device' anyway? A transistor? An IC? A board? A blade? Ad


    And honestly, if they're 'talking so much with each other' (go go el reg

    baby talk!), are they still seperate devices?

    I understand that this consideration might undermine the apparent premise

    of the story, but sheesh el reg, you should know better.


  3. baspax

    You might want to take a very close look at what Cisco is doing. Because this is far from utopia, they are already shipping the first early field trials and have an aggressive roadmap.

    All the bits and pieces are already there: Cloupia, CliQr, Turbonomic, AppDynamics, etc.

    From what I've seen, this is going to merge very soon and then you have exactly what you described in your article.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nearly there

      Amzn and goog presumably intend to own the platform(s) for this kind of thing with lambda and cloud-functions.

      While we currently have a few cloud datacenters per continent, the trend is towards a-few-dc's-per-metropolitan-area.

      The pitch is to define your app in auto-deployable packages and let the cloud vendor spawn an ephemeral instance in the nearest DC, making highly-interactive and bandwidth-heavy apps work in the coming 5G multigigabit future.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Custom built

    So these data centres will cater exclusively to the non-human actors on the net. Why do I get the feeling we're witnessing the first fumbling assembly of what will become Skynet?

  5. Pete 2 Silver badge

    I don't buy this

    A datacentre is still a case of data-in, data-out. Irrespective if whether the initial source or destination is another computer person.

    As far as ultra-fast, low latency comms. We already understand that at 1 foot per nanosecond, the speed of light is a major drag. Especially when the interconnects between computers (or even their internal buses) can be quite long. The drive to miniaturise has been around for a long time. As has the idea of building your datacentres close to the data - just ask any high-speed traders.

    So what, if anything is new? Possibly the only aspect would be with the dedicated and frighteningly speedy programmable hardware. When we get around to having the AIs design and (re)program them on the fly, we could see some very interesting developments. Sadly they would probably need another AI to explain them to us.

  6. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Computers will always need people

    Until they invent a way of turning themselves off and on again

  7. Random Q Hacker


    Near-term I think we'll see shipping container sized "tape libraries" except the tapes will be little black compute/storage boxes. Bad boxes get ejected out the back, and us human slaves restock the good ones. The libraries themselves will have standardized power and data connections in all directions for stacking. You may even find them offshore of a flooded New York City, on a container ship, with seawater being pumped through their heat exchangers. Laser links to fiber on shore and satellites, etc...

    Further out, just giant pools of quantum computing goo that can endlessly reconfigure itself as it sees fit. Quantum macro-amoeba controlling lower-level tech to mine, refine, manufacture, assemble, and otherwise replicate more machines and more quantum goo. And maybe keep us humans in some kind of animal preserve.

    The young quantum amoeba will balk at the idea they are decended from us ape-like creatures. But only for a nanosecond.

  8. Phil Bennett

    No humans allowed

    I assumed this would be about a datacentre structured for zero maintenance, so no aisles.

    We've more or less got to the point where it isn't worth unracking and repairing troublesome hardware at the kind of scale the behemoths are operating. I see the future datacentre as modular units designed around heat flow - e.g. you might have a bottom tier of machines with low tolerance to heat up to a top floor capable for running past 100 degrees (and that top floor could be much, much higher than the current top of rack). Machines would be loaded in by autonomous forklifts. Once in, machines wouldn't be touched - if they fail, turn off power and ignore. Upgrades would be for compute per watt, and you'd build a new datacentre with the new machines, keeping the old datacentre alive until the spot price for compute dropped below the cost of supply.

  9. strum

    We've already got machine-to-machine reporting of errors (when Firefox or Windows crashes, for instance).

    It wouldn't be too much of a step to have us complain to our phones (about some technical or commercial error). Then when we're satisfied our phone has 'understood' our complaint, it goes off an negotiates with the relevant (machine-run) 'call centre'. Then it can report the result back to us. (It would have to be programmed to understand "But, but, but...")

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